Class Action Settlements
Class action lawsuits are those in which a large group with similar grievances band together to sue collectively as a "class." There are many employment disputes in which an individual damages award would not be sufficient to justify the expense and time of litigation. A class action lawsuit might be useful when a corporate employer violates California wage and hour laws, for instance. Each worker’s recovery might not be significant enough to sue, but when pooled, the claims add up. If you want to know more about class action settlements, you should discuss your situation with the California class action lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm. Counsel for a class must be well-positioned to take on the expenses and complexities associated with class action litigation. We have protected the interests of workers for more than 20 years.Class Action Settlements
In order to bring a class action lawsuit, the following must be present: an ascertainable class of plaintiffs, a well-defined community of interest among them, and the possibility of substantial benefits that would make the class action form preferable to individual lawsuits.
A community of interest is present if the plaintiffs have predominant common questions of fact or law. The class representatives should have causes of action and defenses that are typical of the class as a whole, and class representatives must adequately represent the whole class. When the dispute is more complex and involves major grievances, the class action procedure may not be adequate. For example, if there are both wage and hour issues and sexual harassment issues in a single employee’s claim, that employee may not be an appropriate representative of the class.
Class actions may be pursued in connection with failures to pay minimum wage and overtime, requirements that employees work off the clock, and failures to provide meal or rest breaks.
Most class action lawsuits are resolved by settlement, rather than trial. After a class action settlement is reached, the court should notify you about how to make your claim for relief. For example, a plaintiff's attorney might negotiate a settlement in which each worker who was subject to a failure to provide full rest breaks receives a small pay-out for those lost wages. If you would rather file an individual lawsuit because you are not happy about how the class action is going or you believe that you are entitled to more money, it may be worthwhile to consult an attorney about whether it would be appropriate to sue individually, rather than being bound by the settlement.Opting Out of Class Action Settlements
Members of a class are entitled to opt out of class action settlements in California. The court should send you a legal notice of the class action, along with the settlement, if you belong to the class of plaintiffs. When you choose to opt out, you retain the right to file your own lawsuit. However, if you do not respond to the notice, you are bound by the settlement or decision in the lawsuit. You will be treated as part of the class for the purposes of settlement unless you exercised your opt-out rights. It can be important to talk to a lawyer of your own about whether it would make sense for you to opt out under the circumstances. If, for example, you worked for a major corporation that routinely required employees to conduct COVID-19 testing off the clock, it might not be worthwhile for you to file an individual lawsuit for damages, and you would not choose to opt out.Consult an Employment Attorney in California
If you are unsure about whether to accept a class action settlement, you should discuss your situation with the experienced class action lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm. For more than 20 years, we have represented workers in wage and hour claims in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).